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Is It Judgment or Discernment?

judgement Is It Judgment or Discernment?

I have had to wage war on my judgments.

They’re idiots if their driving doesn’t suit me. Hey, salesclerk, are you here to serve customers like me or to chat, you slovenly beast? I’m walking here, if you’ll let me, you mob-thinking plebes. Aww, go to hell !

I’ve overcome what I wanted to in terms of judgments, and substituted Discernment.

“Real magic means an absence of judgment of others.” ---Wayne Dyer


How I Overcame My Judgments

There are 3 components to my moving away from judgments: Gratitude, Humility and Acceptance.


That has accounted for releasing my judgment of people. Now I discern that some people are good for me, some are not. I discern some situations are right for me, some are not. I discern the humanity of all. I recognize that their quirks and foibles are no different, in the scheme of things, than mine. And I’ve reached an age where most people’s mistakes are forgivable – in most cases I have at some time done the same or worse.

The benefit this has brought me is a more even temperament, I forgive but don’t forget. The saying goes, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” The trap of forgive and forget is that it invites someone to take advantage of you again, you don’t remember what happened the last time.

What Is Judgment?


The definition of judgment (aside from its legal application) is: “
The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.”



That Net definition lists its first synonym as: discernment.

Judgment has a variety of interpretations:

“As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment.” ---Tracee Ellis Ross


Is compassion the opposite of judgment? Compassion for Race is a better choice than judgment, certainly. Compassion for your fellow-beings on any level is defined, on the Spiritual path, as good. Contrast that kind of judgment with another common meaning:


“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” ---Will Rogers

That addresses mundane judgments, the kind we have to make every day, often multiple times in a day. In that view, judgment is, again, good. It’s about choices. But so is discernment.

Perhaps the word that is most accurate in our everyday world is “Judgmental” which is defined as: having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.

What Is Discernment?

Going again to the Net dictionary, we see this:

“The ability to judge well; perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.”

“I've been blessed with a good head on my shoulders and quite a good ability of discernment. I can see through people.” ---Kellan Lutz

I believe, as similar as the two are by definition, there is a qualitative difference.


My conclusion, as you may agree, is: to make decisions in my judgment as informed by discernment.


This is my distinction. Judgment comes in challenges, from a healthy diet to which way to drive home from work. Discernment is deeper, or more of an overview. The more I get in touch with my Self, the clearer my judgments become. As you make your choices in your day, you need to discern whether what is going on is What You Want, and equally, Is This Mine? And, as the second definition indicates, I now more naturally see what is Spiritually positive for me and what is not.

When People Judge You

The Spiritual prescription for others’ judgment of you is, as mentioned, the question Is This Mine?


People tend to find faults in others that they themselves do.


The judgments of others always have to be filtered by your discernment. They’re not cause for knee-jerk reactions. Do they ring true? Or are they uninformed or even intended to harm you?

When you return an attack (or take a defensive position) you in fact are also attacking, as A Course in Miracles tells us. What a waste of time!

People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.” ---Albert Camus


There’s a woman in my building, I’ll call her Luba, who is a very judgmental person.


Although she immigrated 30 years ago, she clings to Old Country beliefs. She is totally prejudiced against Croats or Chinese, someone’s clothing choices (people either have no taste – people to be frowned upon – or are imitating her style), a chance remark she overheard that she (usually mistakenly) interprets as a comment on her. She several times held forth on how objectionable it was that another resident wore the same blue coat all winter (it’s the only one she has).


Luba used to come to visit me practically every day. She unmovingly hated me the first 4 years I was here – I don’t know the reason. But she went from that to visiting me. I should note that visiting is very important to her. Eventually I had to draw the line. The fact is, in visiting she didn’t actually seek, or listen to, my advice, or learn anything about my life. She and I had nothing in common except being human beings. There were a few occasions – and themes – where I could help and I did so. But over time I began to see her as an energy sucker. I don’t judge her as being that to others, just me. And my discernment showed me how to get her to come less often, now not at all, which is right for me. I put up with her as long as I did out of fear of judging her. It’s my responsibility how I invest my time and attention, and my discernment in the end was clear. Now I have a relationship with her of benign acquaintance. She never was really a friend.

“The more one judges, the less one loves.” ---Honoré de Balzac


Find Your Discernment


Take a look at your life, particularly, I would suggest, your relationships – the difficult ones.


In the clarity of Discernment, where do your relationships stand?


If you’re unclear about whether you’re Judging or Discerning, I recommend meditating on it.


Silence is a great revealer.

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